Vietnamese businesses pleased with tax reforms

By VnExpress   March 9, 2017 | 12:25 am PT
Vietnamese businesses pleased with tax reforms
Tax payment time was reduced significantly from 537 hours per year to 117 hours in the past two years, a VCCI survey has found. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Tung
Three quarters of businesses expressed satisfaction with tax reforms in 2016.

Over 75 percent of surveyed businesses expressed their satisfaction with tax reforms in 2016, slightly up from 71 percent in 2014, said Dau Anh Tuan, head of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI)'s Legal Department at an event held in Hanoi on Tuesday.

This is the second time the VCCI has conducted a survey on taxpayer satisfaction after the first one in 2014.

Businesses were happier with administrative procedures involving tax over the past two years, the survey found.

In 2014, 70 percent of the surveyed firms had difficulties accessing information on tax policies and laws, but that figure dropped to 55 percent in 2016.

Among various sources of information on tax such as: workshop/training, conference, website, hotline, tax authority’s website turned out to be a helpful channel for businesses with 93 percent of them saying they were pleased with what they found on the site.

Tax officials also proved helpful as over 90 percent of respondents were satisfied with their services, an improvement in comparison to 2014.

The survey, conducted by the VCCI and the World Bank, had sent out questionnaires to 22,000 enterprises nationwide, of which 3,500 responded. This is the VCCI’s second biggest survey after the Provincial Competitiveness Index, which has had approximately 8,000 responses.


Representatives of the business community attend the event on Tuesday. Photo courtesy of VCCI

The survey was carried out fairly and without bias to the tax sector, which created a high sense of objectiveness, said Vu Tien Loc, president of the VCCI.

The VCCI formulated five criteria to measure businesses' satisfaction regarding the reforms: access to information, implementation of tax procedures, tax check-ups, tax officers' behavior and tax case resolution.

Tax payment time was reduced significantly from 537 hours per year to 117 hours in the past two years thanks to the abolishment and simplification of several hundred procedures and regulations.

Despite the encouraging results, there still remain some problems that are holding back enterprises.

“Tax registration and tax refunds still caused the most hassles,” Tuan added.

The 2016 findings revealed around 34 percent of businesses have to pay unofficial fees to tax officials, slightly up from 32 percent in 2014.

Especially, 44 percent the surveyed FDI firms had to give some money to tax officials. Half of them believed that they would face discrimination if they didn't do so.

FDI companies also had trouble with tax refunds as 88 percent of them said they were required to explain and hand in additional papers when claiming tax refunds.

“Vietnam is becoming a magnet for FDI, so it is essential for the tax office to make it easier for FDI firms to claim back their tax,” Tuan emphasized.

In the near future, tax authorities will focus more on technology-based solutions to ensure all businesses declare their tax returns online. To ease the complicated administrative procedures for tax refunds, e-tax should soon be applied.

"The survey showed that the reforms in the tax sector have been in the right direction, have accelerated and are gaining initial successes," Loc said to close the event.

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